Downloading 10 Originals in macOS Photos

I’ve been having this issue for years, but I finally figured it out today without Apple’s help. I tried to get support from Apple, but their support was not useful.

downloading 10 orignals

I had configured Photos on my Mac Studio to keep originals on my Mac. I started with blank Photo library when I got this system and Photos pulled all content from the cloud: 40,000+ photos and videos. Except 10. It kept saying: Download 10 Originals. I tried to pause and then resume download, but it did not help. Despite trying to download them multiple times, I was unable to get these 10 photos to download.

I even tried downloading 1000 photos batches from, but that required a lot of time and manual work, so I got tired after about 10 batches. I tried to copy photos from the Photos app to a folder on disk, but that caused Photos app to freeze on several attempts. I eventually called AppleCare for help, but after going through multiple support agents and providing gigabytes of logs, nothing was resolved.

I then searched for projects that would allow me to download photos from iCloud Photo Library and found two projects, icloud_photos_downloader and osxphotos. I chose to use osxphotos because it didn’t require me to provide iCloud login credential, and worked with local Photos library.

I imported osxphotos into Python, loaded Photos library and started iterating over each photo in the library. I was looking for photos which were:

  • not downloaded locally;
  • not part of the shared album;
  • present in the cloud.

The snippet below returned a result of 10 photos, which matched the number of photos that Photos was unable to download:

import osxphotos

path = "/Users/user/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary"
photosdb = osxphotos.PhotosDB(path)

for p in
   if p.ismissing and not p.shared and p.incloud:
       print(f'{p.ismissing=}, {p.filename=}, {p.original_filename=}, '
             f'{}, {p.incloud=}')

Utilizing Smart Album feature of the Photos, and knowing the original file name and date the photo was taken, I was able to identify the 10 missing photos and move them into a separate album. I deleted problematic photos from Cloud Photos album, and then re-uploaded originals, which I extracted from the backup.

Despite wasting about 10 hours on troubleshooting with Apple, I was able to solve this problem in 20 minutes using osxphotos.

Now, the message “Download 10 Originals” is gone and it says “Synced with iCloud Just Now.”

I should have searched for projects that would allow me to resolve the issue earlier, but I had hoped that Apple support would be able to resolve the issue faster: I was wrong.